Scranton Couple Seeking Answers At GM Hearing

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SCRANTON -- A mother and father from Lackawanna County took to our nation's capital demanding answers from General Motors.

The couple from Scranton want to know why General Motors may have covered up mechanical failures in its vehicles, a defect they claim caused their daughter's death.

Lawmakers had plenty of questions for the new CEO of General Motors about why the carmaker waited so long to order the recall of millions of vehicles that have defective ignition switches.

GM admits the switches can cause the engines to shut off, turning off all the car's safety equipment including air bags.

Families gathered in Washington on Tuesday blaming GM for the deaths of their loved ones who died in GM vehicles. Among those families were the mother and father from Scranton who say their daughter was killed back in 2010 because of the mechanical failure.

It was a little more than four years ago when Kelly Ruddy, 21, of Scranton lost control of her car along Interstate 81near Wilkes-Barre. She was killed in that crash but family and friends never knew why.

Now that her car has been listed in that Gm recall, they're demanding answers.

Mary Ruddy of Scranton held tightly to a picture of her daughter in Washington D.C. on Tuesday.

It was on January 10, 2010 when Kelly Ruddy lost control of her 2005 Chevy Cobalt on Interstate 81 near the Bear Creek exit.  Investigators say the car flipped, causing her to be thrown out of the vehicle. She was then struck by passing cars.

"When I finally absorbed that news, I just couldn't believe it. It was just so heartbreaking," Ruddy said.

More than four years later, the Ruddy family is still looking for answers. Her father told ABC news he worries for other families.

"(There are) still people out there driving this vehicle who should not be driving it," said Leo Ruddy.

Ruddy's Chevy Cobalt is among 2.6 million GM vehicles that are being recalled for defective ignition switches.  The 2010 crash that killed Ruddy was mentioned at the congressional hearing.

People in our area who knew Kelly Ruddy say their thoughts are with the Ruddy family.

"Mary had always said she just couldn't believe Kelly losing control of the car like that for no reason," said Marywood University librarian Helene Teeple.

Librarians at Marywood University in Scranton feel close to the Ruddy family.

Kelly was a work study student there and her mother worked at the circulation desk.

"She will fight the good fight. Mary I hope, becomes the face of this tragedy for all the mothers going through this. She will not give up," said Marywood University librarian Annette Fisher.

Friends say Mary has no reason to give up. About 6 1/2 months before Kelly's crash, her other daughter Tara died unexpectedly. The two librarians say they can only hope that the Ruddy's voices are heard, and the family can have some closure.

"I'm just hoping that there is some kind of…Mary gets, Kelly, that whole family, gets the resolution they deserve. That this was a tragedy that General Motors or whoever should be accountable for it."

There has been some good news recently for the Ruddy family.  After a request from Senator Pat Toomey, General Motors agreed to return the so-called "black box" from Kelly's car. This box could be one way for both the family, and GM to find out what actually caused the crash the ended up taking Kelly's life.



  • Laird

    The report the day after the accident quotes the police saying the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed. It was 3 am, it occurred on an on ramp. If, in fact, the ignition switch failed, did it fail before or during the accident that resulted in the vehicle rolling and ejecting the driver?
    Air bags certainly wouldn’t have helped keep the driver in the car.

  • Amy

    It doesn’t matter if she was wearing a seatbelt. Would she still be alive maybe but you can’t only blame that. If the initial cause of the accident is from the part that is recalled then yes it is GM’s fault. If that part wasn’t faulty then it it wouldn’t matter about the seatbelt. The accident would not have happened if the vehicle didn’t shut down due to a defective part.

  • Anonymous

    Believe me. These people are not in it for the money. No amount of money will bring back either of their daughters or fix their lives. They want answers and to see that no else must suffer from such a tragedy.

  • cmt4410

    The car caught on fire…even if she did have a seatbelt on she would have been unconscious and engulfed in flames. If it were your loved one I hope you’d do the same. Its not about money its about justice for a young girl who died thanks to a mega corporation that didn’t want to spend the extra money on a car part even though they were aware.

  • James Birdle

    Regardless if she had her seat belt on or not, if the car failed because of a faulty part…and subsequently crashed due to the faulty part… then GM is liable for the end results. She could have been killed for a million other reasons as a result of a faulty part

    • jbrony

      And you know the car crashed because of a defective ignition switch – how? Last time I checked a defective ignition switch does not cause a car to lose control.

  • Jim Brony

    As usual, the whole story isn’t told. With no disrepect to the departed – What were the weather conditions? Experience level of the driver? Condition of the tires? Was execessive speed, alcohol, or other distractions a factor? Was the seat belt worn, and properly? Don’t get me wrong, any loss of life in this manner is tragic, but let’s not turn into a mob over evil GM or any other auto maker. Face the facts – millions of GM autos are on the road – racking up millions of miles each and every day. If there is negligence on the part of GM, the truth will come out. But let’s not forget about personal responsibility and accountability as the operator of a two-ton projectile.

  • Robert Hill

    if that was my son or daughter. GM would be paying out big bucks. then they wouldnt be building any more deathtraps. i have been an auto mechanic all my life. i have done lots of recalls on various types of cars for a safety problem. if tey knew of this problm and didnt get it out to be fixed. then they are held liable for any injuries or deaths from accidents related to this problem.

  • Bob Kinne

    It was terrible and you have to feel for the parents, however the question beggs to be asked: If the car rolled over and she was thrown from the car and run over byu another vehicle, then didn’t she have her seatbelt buckled ?

    • Tom R

      I agree 100%. The car may have failed because of the ignition switch, but it is a shame if she was not wearing her seat belt. She may still be alive today if that was the case. SEAT BELTS SAVE LIVES! PLEASE BUCKLE UP!

      • jbrony

        In many instances the seat belts snap? Where did you get that from? And if that was the case, don’t you think that would be part of the lawsuit instead of just the ignition switch? A typical seat belt in a modern car can withstand a tensile breaking force in excess of 2.5 tons. Assuming she weighed 100 pounds for the sake of arguement, it would take a force of 25 g’s to break a belt. To put it in terms that you would understand: Ain’t gonna happen.

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